In the eerie, silent darkness of July 4, 1976, a world away from the United States’ Bicentennial celebrations, the eldest of Israel’s Netanyahu brothers crouched with his elite commando unit, poised to pull off one of the most startling and heroic rescue missions in military history.
On the lonely airstrip in Entebbe, deep in the heart of Idi Amin’s Uganda, Jonathan ‘Yoni’ Netanyahu led a team of crack Israeli commandos in a headlong dash to free over 100 airline passengers held hostage by Palestinian terrorists in cooperation with leftist German radicals.
The events of that night, since named “Operation Jonathan” after the man who masterminded the successful mission, have been called “a defining moment in the war on terrorism,” the stuff of legends, military strategies, movies and more.
And now, you too can relive the drama of that amazing night and get behind the eyes of the heroic rescuers through the book “Entebbe,” written by Yoni’s youngest brother, Iddo (the middle brother is current Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), and the newly released film “Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story.”
Thomas Sharp, the publisher of Iddo Netanyahu’s book, told WND the film “Follow Me” gives a rare glimpse into the heart of Israeli Defense Force soldiers, revealing the deep love for the Jewish people and land of Israel that compels these brave men and women to offer their lives to protect the Holy Land.
Sharp, publisher/CEO of Balfour Books described the film as a “mesmerizing docudrama on the spectacular raid on Entebbe, coupled with an intimate look at Israel’s warrior-poet, Jonathan ‘Yoni’ Netanyahu. ‘Follow Me’ will leave one both inspired and broken.”
Featuring interviews with three Israeli prime ministers and Yoni’s ex-wife (for the first time on film), plus recently released audio from the Entebbe operation itself, “Follow Me” brings a rare portrait of Israel’s elite soldiers and their greatest hero to the big screen. And by using Yoni’s own poetry, letters and prose, the film delves into the mind of this reluctant young soldier and reveals his duty to family and to the Israel he loved.
The story behind the story
The Netanyahu brothers grew up in Israel in the days not long after it became a country again in 1948, but then moved with their parents to America.
For Yoni, however, there was a fullness of life in the dusty streets of Jerusalem that he could not find in the lush lands of the United States: “My home is terribly nice,” Yoni wrote, “surrounded by lawns and trees, an empty, meaningless life.”
Dedicated to his homeland, Yoni returned to Israel and fought in 1967’s Six-Day War, wounded in the battle to preserve the young country.
A fine academic as well, Yoni then came back to the States to study at Harvard, until Israel came under fire again in 1973’s Yom Kippur War.
Though he had a young wife and new life in America, Yoni felt the call to defend Israel, to serve “something bigger, more important than [yourself] … namely, the fate of the people you are a part of.”
But Yoni would distinguish himself most in the amazing events of July 4, 1976. Leftist German revolutionaries had teamed with Palestinian terrorists to hijack the plane and landed it in Entebbe, Uganda, threatening to slaughter the mostly Jewish passengers unless Israel met their demands.
Instead, Israel sent Yoni.
A trailer for “Follow Me” can be seen below: